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An Executive Function Skill Intervention for Middle School Students with Emotional & Behavioral Disorders

Conducted by the Cognitive-Behavioral Research Group in Education

I Control is a theoretically grounded intervention design to tap self-regulatory mechanisms collectively known as executive function (EF) that plays a role in both positive and negative social-emotional functioning. The goal of I Control is to foster self-regulation and improve social-emotional outcomes for middle school students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD).

I Control taps EF skills such as inhibition of impulses, initiating, planning, strategy switching, and maintaining information in working memory. Our Theory of Change illustrates how these self-regulatory functions are fundamental to goal setting, emotion regulation, and problem solving skills which, in turn, contribute significantly to social-emotional competence.

We are developing I Control in middle school classrooms with the aid of teacher and student feedback. We are monitoring and evaluating lesson implementation using observational data and continually adjusting curricular components to enhance ease of use, accuracy of implementation, and to maximize the effects the curriculum may demonstrate for improving self-regulation and social competence of children with EBD.

I Control is funded by a Goal 2 development grant with the National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences.

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  • Teaching Strategies for Student Self-Regulation of Behavior:

    I Control is a tertiary intervention to teach students self-regulation skills through the use of graphic organizers, visual supports, and a variety of hands-on activities.

  • Engaging Students Through Dynamic Instruction & Discussion:

    Teachers can deliver I Control content through instructional techniques such as direct instruction, guided practice, and group discussion with teacher feedback.

  • Learning Skills Through Interactive, Hands-On Activities:

    Students are provided opportunities to practice I Control skills through interactive role-plays using real life scenarios.